Monday, April 28, 2008

Characters Do Not All Live In Books

As I travel through life the people I meet are often more interesting than the characters that populate my books. Today, on a twenty minute walk, I viewed some interesting vignettes and got a view of just a piece of someone else's life.

Act 1 - a line at the post office that was being delayed because a package was being paid for in carefully folded and refolded bills. The customer was tall, thin with hemp beads and long stringy hair and a placid baby face. He didn't seem to notice the consternation on the postal clerk's face as he carefully removed one carefully folded bill after another from a small pouch he carried. Five dollar bills were folded to one inch squares. He would place a carefully folded bill on the middle of the counter and wait. The clerk would painstakingly unfold the intricately folded bill and place it in a growing pile. Then the man would slowly reach for another similarly folded bill and set it on the counter, and the clerk would concentrate on unfolding that bill and placing it on the pile of unfolded bills. With the transaction appearing to cost close to one hundred dollars the whole performance was very slow. Neither he nor the postal clerk spoke, but their expressions told a story - I'm sure each of us in that line had a different tale to tell at the end of the day and not one of us knew the real story behind the man and those intricately folded five dollar bills.

Act 2 - As I walked away from the post office and down the street still smiling over the very different reactions of the postal clerk, the customer, and the people in line, I caught a flash of plaid. There, standing in front of a full length window at the main entrance of an apartment building stood a man in boxer shorts and under shirt. I blinked and looked again. Surely he would duck now that there was a woman on the sidewalk in front of him. He didn't and I walked faster, just in case he was in the mood to show a tad more than his boxers.

Just another interesting day on a cool spring day on the prairie.

And you - what strangers made an impression on you today?


1 comment:

Teresa said...

I love these characters. You describe them so richly, I can imagine them standing before me. (Although the guy in the window kind of freaks me out!) Keep observing and finding the humour in everyday life, or you just might go crazy!